Keira is 6!

For Keira’s 6th birthday, I decided to interview her on video for the same reasons I recorded Lucia’s birthday interview.

Keira Ruth Lopez4_1_20109_49am8 lbs 7oz21 1_4 inches

Below is the video plus the transcription (can’t guarantee the transcription is perfect).

Keira is6years old!

What is your favorite color?

Pink

What is your favorite toy?

My Little Pony {shows her MLP}

Does she have a name?

Princess Goldlily .

What is your favorite fruit?

Strawberry.

What is your favorite TV show?

My Little Pony.

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?

Macaroni and Cheese.

What is your favorite outfit?

This outfit.  

What is your favorite game to play?

My Little Pony games.

What is your favorite snack?

A granola bar.

What is your favorite animal?

A horse.

What is your favorite song?

Hello.

What is your favorite book?

My Little Pony books.

What is your favorite subject at school  are things you like?

Play games and watch videos.

[Do] you have a favorite sport or activity?

(After prompting) Gymnastics.

What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?

Oatmeal. Oh actually grits.  

What is your favorite thing to do outside?

Chalk.  

What is your favorite drink?

Apple juice.

What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas.  Because toys and lots of toys!.

What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

Stuffed animal.  I usually sleep with a bunch of kinds of animals.  {shows dolphin}

What is your favorite thing to have for dinner?

This keeps getting harder and harder.  Eggs.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

An older kid.  

 

 

How does it feel being a six year old?

Good.

What do you think you’re gonna get to do now that you’re six.

Stay up more.  Play games over night.  Get little snacks and brush our teeth again.

Happy Birthday!

Is that all?  Am I done?

Yeah.  

Lucia is 8!

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Lucia Christina Lopez3_22_20083_34pm7lbs 14oz20 1_4 inches long-2

This year I decided to do a video interview with Lucia for her birthday for a few couple of reasons.  First, I need to take more video of the kids and second, as uncomfortable as it is more me to video myself and get in front of the camera, it’s necessary.  I know I’m not the only parent in the world who avoids getting in front of the camera.  I also know that I need to model this sort of thing for my children, so I face the uncomfortableness head on and just do it.

Lucia is 8 years old!

Here’s Lucia’s interview on video.  It is also transcribed below (not precisely word for word, so don’t expect the full effect reading it).

What is your favorite color?

Purple.

What is your favorite toy?

My cat. 

Does she have a name?

Summer.

What is your favorite fruit?

Oranges.

What is your favorite TV show?

My Little Pony.

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?

Pancakes.

What is your favorite outfit?

The one I’m wearing. 

What is your favorite game to play?

Hide and Seek.

What is your favorite snack?

A granola bar.

What is your favorite animal?

A horse.

What is your favorite song?

Stitches.

What is your favorite book?

My dinosaur book.

What is your favorite subject at school  are things you like?

Play with my stuffed animals.

[Do] you have a favorite sport or activity?

[I] sorta like gymnastics.

What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?

Oatmeal.

What is your favorite thing to do outside?

I have actually two.  Playing in the sandbox and jumping on the trampoline.  

What is your favorite drink?

Chocolate milk.

What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas.  That’s when I get the most presents.

What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

My purple giraffe.

Your purple giraffe.  Do you have it? Where is it?  Can you show me? 

{gets purple giraffe}

What is your favorite thing to have for dinner?

Macaroni.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I dunno.

Do you want to grow up?

No.

Do you like being a kid?

{nods yes}

Why don’t you want to grow up?

Because I don’t want to learn to drive.

How does it feel being an eight year old?

Good.

Happy Birthday.  Can I give you a hug?

 

 

Aurelia is 10!

Happy 10th Birthday, Aurelia!  You are now double digits.  That’s a big deal!  I love you.

aurelia naked baby face

Aurelia, 5 months old.  Bedford, Texas

It’s been quite a ride parenting you.  I have, do, and will keep apologizing to you for all the things I’m learning as I go.  You’re the first kid, and I realize that comes with some rough lessons for me in the parenting department.  I hope I continue to be honest with you when I mess up.  You aren’t required to forgive me.  I do hope that as you grow, you know how much I did and do love you even when I messed up.  I love you.

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Aurelia ~8months old, our apartment in Bedford, Texas

You are such a gifted person.  You are incredibly kind.  You are honest.  You have faith.  You believe in magical things.  You are sensitive.  Never lose these things.  The world will try to harden you and beat this out of you.  Don’t let it.  These traits makes you Aurelia.  I love you.

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Age 1, our house in Bedford, TX

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Age 4, Grapevine Lake

Your ability to do math in your head, your logic and reasoning skills, and the way you process the world and problems you face and solve is incredibly unique.  The way you do this is perfect.  I love you.

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Age 6, Visiting Mimi in San Antonio

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Age 7, Houston Zoo

I know I don’t know everything that goes on in your head and that is okay.  I’m your parent and to me that means I am not in control of you.   You also owe me nothing.  I’m here.  I’m here to hold your hand when you need it, I’m here to listen to you, I’m here to help you figure out what you want, and to be there, here, and everywhere you need me to be.  I know you are about to enter a phase  where life can seem a little more confusing and uncertain.  You’re likes and wants may start to shift.  You may want more privacy than you did before.  Changes are going to start happening physically, mentally, and emotionally. Know that I’ve gone through these things when I was your age and while I may not seem relevant to you, I do understand.  I remember.  I love you.

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Age 8, Ice Day in Houston 

I hope that you have an incredible tenth year. I hope that you make close friendships. I know friendships and people are very important to you.  I think it’s amazing how you put yourself out there.  You are brave.  I’m certain much braver than I was at age ten.  You are amazing just by being you.  I love you.

Happy Birthday, Aurelia.  I love you.

Elisha is 3!

Elisha is 3 today.  It’s amazing how our births leave such an imprint on us. Even though I have four children, I still remember each of their births.  Elisha’s birth was different because she is a rainbow baby.  The pregnancy with her was terrifying.  I lived in a constant state of anxiety and fear for 42 weeks.  I almost lost her as well for the same reason I lost the baby before her.  Every fiber of my being was holding onto her to entire pregnancy that I held onto her until 42 weeks.  At the end of her pregnancy, I did everything I knew how to relax and tell myself and her that it was okay for her to come out now and be born and that I wasn’t going to fear for how her birth would go simply because early pregnancy with her was high-risk for loss.

Here is to the child who held on.  Here is to a strong and determined girl.  She is the youngest of four children and fights for what is hers and sometimes assumes what is one of her sister’s toys is hers.  Her sisters will attempt to play out the whole “it’s like taking candy from a baby” line and Elisha will empathically deny them.  “NO!”  “This is mine!”

At a few days shy of 9 months, she learned to walk.  She is my earliest walker.  Now at age 3, she has decided that wearing diapers is still cool.  She will be my latest potty learning child.

She is a lover of YumEarth lollipops she gets at her Mimi’s house, a lover of the top of a pizza (never the crust), ice cream, eggs, broccoli (for now), kombucha, and breastfeeding.

She loves to be including in everything her sisters are doing.  She loves her time with her Mimi as in sometimes she refuses to come home from Mimi’s.  She loves the nursery at church because they have play-doh, juice, and cookies for her, oh and they really love on her.  We found out that she needs to be 3 and potty trained to go into the pre-school classroom so I think that she’s holding off on getting out of diapers because she wants to stay in the church nursery.  She begs to go to the nursery early each Sunday and is always talking about how much she loves her teachers.

She still hates her hair being washed.  I hate doing it and sometimes it’s necessary.  She will offer up any other body part to be washed, just not her hair.  I get around to washing her hair probably 2-3 times a month because of this.  She may not want her hair washed but she sure does want it styled daily and wants makeup put on frequently.

She loves anything Frozen and most recently decided it’s okay to like other queens and princesses and My Little Ponies.   She left the house yesterday in a Belle gown (with her Frozen light-up tennis shoes).  She knows how to lift up her dresses in the front like royalty so she doesn’t trip on them.  Sometimes she makes her sisters do it so she doesn’t have to.

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Elisha and Daddy, 1 month. She loved her head being rubbed.

Her sisters shower her in love, kisses, tickles, and the occasional hurt feeling because Elisha destroyed something of theirs.

She is currently working on swinging on the standard playground swing, going down bigger slides, cleaning up after herself, coloring with many different colors, drawing circles, standing up for herself, and demanding to get what she wants.  She also likes to demonstrate how I need to be doing something and makes me try it.  For example, she grabbed a broom, swept with a few strokes, handed me the broom and told me to sweep.

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2014 Family Portraits, age 1 and 11 months.  Houston, Texas

I love this three year old.  I am aware that this next year will be…um, interesting.  My three other kids have shown me that regular napping ceases and more demands are made.  I hope that I retain a sense of humor about what is in store.  Each kid has thrown my for a loop every time.

Elisha is my fourth child and I am a different parent now than I was with my first.  Time, my age, experience, and the number of kids have done this.  My level of confidence in parenting gets knocked down a notch with each child I have.  Maybe that is what I needed; four kids to teach me I am not in control and have no idea what I am doing.  It’s very humbling and very rewarding.

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October, 2015 (age 2 and 10 months) at The DoSeum in San Antonio, Texas

Happy third birthday, Elisha!

Happy 5th Birthday, Keira!

I’m a decent side and partial hugger because that the polite thing to do but I am probably the world’s worst real hugger (I am basing this on my own fear of hugs and my sister telling me my hugs were kinda lame).  Keira is probably the world’s BEST hugger.  I suppose I never really knew what a good full-on contact “I’m gonna show you how much I love you” hug ever felt like until she hugged me.  She pours her whole heart into her hugs.  You can feel her genuine love.  Since she first hugged me, I have been working on giving more vulnerable hugs.

Newborn Picture of Keira

Newborn Picture of Keira

Keira is in the stage of not being quite sure what her role is in the four sister set up we have going on over here.  Is she a young child like Elisha or is she an older child like Aurelia and Lucia?

This picture might appear as if nothing is going on.  Keira's birth was filmed for a TV show.   This is the only image I have that you can see the camera woman in.   I was in the water with Keira after she was born for her herbal bath.   Our bathroom was FULL of people.

This picture might seem a little confusing.
Keira’s birth was filmed for a TV show.
This is the only image I have that you can see the camera woman in.
I was in the water with Keira after she was born for her herbal bath.
Our bathroom was FULL of people.

Me and my baby Keira.

Me and my baby Keira.

Loving on their baby sister.

Loving on their baby sister.

Today she is 5 years old.  She was the baby (our third) that made us really reevaluate our family structure and the whole standard family set up we had been sold on.  So, when she was 8 months old we sold our house in one city and moved over four hours away to another city where we knew no one and had no support network.

Keira, age 1.  Naked after her birthday party.

Keira, age 1. Naked after her birthday party.

Keira, age 2.  Playing in the dance studio I danced in in college at Texas State.

Keira, age 2. Playing in the dance studio I danced in in college at Texas State.

Keira, age three.  Front porch at our house in Houston.

Keira, age three. Front porch at our house in Houston.

Keira is a child who smiles a lot, is extremely verbal, and has an amazing kinesthetic awareness about her.  She has incredible strength and inserts herself into groups of older children.  She seems to have abilities that supersede her age group.  She struggles to relate to children her own age and would rather play with the older children but still wants that cuddle time with me and she is an incredible snuggler.  She is also a child who will go off on her own intentionally and be fully aware of what she is doing.  She doesn’t need to stay glued down.  If she doesn’t like what’s gong on or doesn’t want to be there she will walk away.  She also is a child who would be totally fine spending a few months living with her Mimi Tina.

Keira, age 4.  Painting a tree in our front yard.

Keira, age 4. Painting a tree in our front yard.

It will be interesting to see what happens this next year in our unschooling world because now that she is 5 years old she is now age eligible for some classes and activities her older sisters participate in that so far she has been an onlooker.

Keira, age 5.

Keira, age 5.

Keira trusts people and leans toward seeing the good in people.  She also wants to be fair.  If she is drawing a picture she makes sure she draws two; one for me and one for Daddy.  She makes sure she gives us equal hugs and tells us the same number of times that she loves us.  Equality is important to her.  If she is getting a cup for herself she will also get ones for her sisters.

Keira, age 5.

Keira, age 5.

Her whole body reveals exactly how she is feeling.  When she smiles she smiles with her whole body.  When she’s sad she’s sad with her whole body.

Me and Keira (age 5) in Bastrop.

Me and Keira (age 5) in Bastrop.

I look forward to what self-discoveries she will make this year, what she will teach herself, and just how she will grow as a person.

Keira,

I love hugging you, holding your hand as we walk, cuddling with you, and even wiping your tears when you are sad and to watch you gain confidence back.  You are such an incredible human being to be around.  I love you, my favorite new 5 year old!

Love,
Mom

Happy 7th Birthday, Lucia!

I discovered a little more of myself with the birth and addition of each of our children to our family.  Lucia is no exception.  Lucia is a mirror for me.

Lucia, Age 7

Lucia, Age 7

Lucia at 3 months old staying in a cabin.

Lucia at 3 months old staying in a cabin.

Anytime my first reaction wants to be irritation I am quickly thrown back into my own childhood and remember really intense feelings I had and why.  I’m able relate to her because it is easy to put myself in her shoes because I was in her shoes.  I do fail sometimes at this because I am an adult now but this is generally how my neural pathways work when I interact with her.

Me VERY pregnant with Lucia.

Me VERY pregnant with Lucia.

Today Lucia turns 7.  Seven years ago I labored upstairs in our home in Bedford, Texas.  I gave birth to her in our bedroom while I had Sal in a sort of choke hold.  Hey, in my defense I needed something to grab and there wasn’t that rope hanging from the ceiling like I has imagined that would have been most excellent to have during pushing.

Sal's first duty as Daddy with each of our babies.  Putting on the first diaper.

Sal’s first duty as Daddy with each of our babies. Putting on the first diaper.

Even early on her personality traits were evident.  She is a petite in stature but mighty in every other way.  She is growing into a wonderful person.  She doesn’t like to reveal her knowledge of the world much.  Every now and then bits and pieces of what she knows spills out.  By the things she says it is evident that her knowledge is vast.

Wearing Lucia (about 1 yr old) and holding Aurelia's hand at Grapevine Lake

Wearing Lucia (about 1 yr old) and holding Aurelia’s hand at Grapevine Lake

Feb 12, 2010 Lucia almost 2 years old playing in the snow at our home in Bedford, Texas

Feb 12, 2010
Lucia almost 2 years old playing in the snow at our home in Bedford, Texas

January 2011.  Lucia 2 years and 9 months old at Space Center Houston.

January 2011. Lucia 2 years and 9 months old at Space Center Houston.

She only will communicate around people with whom she is comfortable.  When she is comfortable and has established you as a trusted and safe person she will reveal more.  This process cannot be pushed.  She will only retreat further if she feels she is being coerced in any way.

Lucia, Summer 2012.  We stopped by Texas State University on our way to San Antonio one trip.

Lucia, Summer 2012, age 4.  We stopped by Texas State University on our way to San Antonio one trip.

Lucia, age 5.  Family pictures in the Fall of 2013.

Lucia, age 5. Family pictures in the Fall of 2013.

Lucia Spring 2014.  Age 6.

Lucia Spring 2014. Age 6.

We call her our Bullshit Detector because she can sniff out a disingenuous person a mile away.  There are areas in our daily family interactions that I may not even realize I am being coercive or my intention may be selfish but she will immediately let me know by her verbal and non verbal (mostly non verbal) cues.

Lucia Spring 2015, Age 7.

Lucia Spring 2015, Age 7.

Lucia is a person who cannot be pushed around or pushed, period.  She MUST be allowed to develop on her own.  I do not want to break this trait in her nor should anyone try. I am excited to see what year 7 brings for her.  Watching her grow in mind, body, and spirit is a pleasure for me.  With her, I just sit back and watch her go.  She picks up on nuances about how the world works so not much ever needs to be said to her directly.  She really does love to snuggle with me and as independent as she is she still loves the physical and verbal reassurance from her family that she is fine just the way she is.

Lucia, age 7

Lucia, age 7

Happy 7th birthday, Lucia!

Why My Old Blog Posts are Crap

I started blogging in 2010 when we moved to Houston.

At first I had ALL of theses ideas and I was able to articulate most of them in daily posts.  It was pretty much lots of things I had in my brain that needed somewhere to be dumped so I blogged.  Over time I’ve learned some valuable lessons about blogging like it’s hard and you say things that can never be erased.

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There’s decent information in my older posts for sure.  But I won’t go back and read them. I also won’t go back and delete them.

I should definitely delete at least 20% of them.  Ok, maybe more like 60%.

Some of the posts were well-intentioned but came across as judgmental.  Gah. Embarrassing.  Some posts were mean.  Some were funny.  Some were sarcastic.  And some, if you read closely, revealed anxiety and depression and occasional hate.   In the past year or so I’v tried to have more humorous and thought provoking posts over informational or you’re-doing-it-wrong posts.

The same person who wrote those posts isn’t the same person I am today.  Let me pause a moment to shudder as I remember some of the real shit I posted.

Sidenote:  As I am writing this post right now my husband looked at my and said, “Are you blogging?”  I replied, “Yes.”  Cautiously he asked, “Aaarrre you allllright??  Are you doing this in anger??”  “Are you blogging about me?!?!”  “What did I do this time?!?!”  

There are often long pauses in my blog posts these days.  Two words:  Four kids.  Three words:  I unschool them.  Four words:  This shit is hard.

I also don’t have anyone breathing down my neck to write and I’m not getting paid for it so the motivation (and time) to do so has to come from me.  Also, I need to add something to my blog because I have so much content on this blog now that I have to actually pay for space.  I need to remedy that and either do that amazon affiliate thing or something to pay my annual fees to keep this site up.  For realz, biznitches.  It is now occurring to me that I am having to PAY you to read this.  WTF?!?!

Anyway, back to why I won’t read my old blogs.  I suppose I’m figuring out that writing is an art and it’s hard to go back and look at your earlier work or musings.  All of that crap was necessary for me to grow though.  I also like to think that I don’t just reveal just my good days.

I will dance in front of my kids because if you haven’t realized by now I have a dance background.  My daughters will try to mimic me and occasionally get frustrated with themselves that they cannot exactly match my footsteps or body movements.  I’ve heard them say to me, “You’re so good mom! Why can’t I do that?!?!”  They weren’t privy to my crappy dance days.  Well, I mean I still have them but I’m much more coordinated now that I was when I started.

A couple years ago I picked up a camera and started to learn the art of taking pictures.  Yup, that’s an art.  I’ll never be done learning that either.  My old pictures are crap too.

Art is a direct reflection of life.   I am a dancer, wife, mother, writer, and photographer.  All of these things are art for me.  There are days when I want to stop doing at least one if not all of them at once.  I look back at when I first started doing these things and I want to squirm, rip up, hide, or make excuses for what was produced back then.   That shit is embarrassing but necessary.

I feel obligated to remain vulnerable.  My children more than anything make me realize how important vulnerability is.  I am not perfect in any area of my life and never want to intentionally hide my flaws to appear as such.  I want to be open and honest about my flaws, especially to them.

We all have to start somewhere.  For me it was necessary to dump the crap first and slowly get to my heart.  Despite what my husband says I do have a heart (even though some days it’s cold and black but it’s there!).   I don’t necessarily think what I put on my blog posts now is perfection or extreme high quality or my high school AP English teacher wouldn’t still slap a C for grammar/structure on it but I’m not as embarrassed by it.

Who knows maybe another five years from now I will want to delete this whole blog and leave no trace I ever wrote online.  (Except I think that’s impossible with the NSA and the internet being the internet.)

Eh.  I like to say that through art we become better versions of ourselves.  Hopefully, for me , this is what is happening.